Fresh plea in apex court on gas price hike

 A fresh plea has been filed in the Supreme Court seeking annulment of the government’s decision to double the price of natural gas being extracted from the KG-D6 basin from April 1.

NGO Common Cause, which had filed a public interest litigation seeking cancellation of the contract awarded to Reliance Industries Ltd (RIL) and Niko in 2000 for extraction of natural gas from the KG basin, has now urged the court to restrain the government from going ahead with its decision to raise the price of gas from $4.2 to $8.4 per mBtu.

Describing the government’s decision to double gas price as “arbitrary, mala fide, unreasonable, and based on extraneous considerations”, the plea claimed that the impact of this price rise would cost the country Rs 54,500 crore every year at the current exchange rate.

“If the current price, that has been in force for the last five years, continues for the next few months, it would not cause serious detriment to any side, especially in view of the fact that RIL has itself admitted that its cost of extraction of gas is $0.89 per mBtu,” said the application filed by advocate Prashant Bhushan on behalf of the NGO.

The applicant claimed that the increase in price would impact households as they are the end-users of power, piped gas and compressed natural gas.

Farmers and ultimately consumers would also be affected, as the cost of fertilisers would go up significantly, which would increase food prices.

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